Abdullah Arabia
King of Saudi Arabia
Abdullah Arabia
Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, is the King of Saudi Arabia. He ascended to the throne on 1 August 2005 upon the death of his half-brother, King Fahd. Abdullah, like Fahd, was one of the many sons of Ibn Saud, the founder of modern Saudi Arabia. (Abdullah's mother was Fahda bint Asi Al Shuraim, the eighth of Ibn Saud's 16 wives. ) Abdullah held important political posts throughout most of his adult life.
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‘World’s Heaviest Teenager’ Finally Walks After Dropping 700 Lbs.
Yahoo News - about 1 year
At his highest weight, Khaled Mohsen Al Shaeri weighed 1,345 lbs. and hadn’t left his bed for three years. In 2013, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia ordered that he be hospitalized for treatment. Since then, Shaeri — now in his early 20s — has lost 700 lbs., and anew video, posted to YouTube Tuesday (garnering almost 48,000 views), shows him walking for the first time in years. 
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Yahoo News article
The Price of Modesty
Huffington Post - over 1 year
Rokhshana was 19-years-old when a gang of men in Afghanistan stoned her to death this week. The men who stoned her were enforcing Islamic law, otherwise known as Sharia. According to the governor of the province, Ghor, she lived in a Taliban-controlled village. Rokhshana was forced to marry someone she did not want and she fled with another man, hence the accusations of adultery that led to her sentencing and brutal execution. Sharia codifies Islam's many rules and governs everything from how to worship daily to personal behavior, economic and legal transactions and the governance of a nation. However, it is most commonly used as a tool to rob women of their most basic rights, including sexual autonomy. Before Rokhshana's tragic death, the world's attention was caught for a while by the plight of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, who was sentenced to death for adultery in Iran, a country governed by Sharia law. Sakineh was ultimately not executed after an international outcry in her de ...
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Huffington Post article
David Cameron defends flag tributes to late King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia
Guardian (UK) - about 2 years
Prime minister says kingdom provided intelligence that saved British lives after criticism of decision to fly union flags at half mast David Cameron has defended the decision of the British authorities to fly the union flag at half mast after the death of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia on the grounds that intelligence from the kingdom has saved British lives. In an interview with young voters on Sky News, in which he was pressed about the decision to lower flags as a mark of respect to the late king, the prime minister initially spoke of the links between the two royal families. Continue reading...
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Guardian (UK) article
Obama Is Said to Plan Fence-Mending Trip to Saudi Arabia
NYTimes - about 3 years
An official said President Obama would seek to reassure King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia after a period of tension over American policies toward Iran and Syria.
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NYTimes article
U.S.-Saudi Relations
NYTimes - over 3 years
A tense meeting between Secretary of State John Kerry and King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.
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NYTimes article
Kerry meets Saudi king on visit to heal rift over Iran, Syria
Yahoo News - over 3 years
RIYADH (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia in Riyadh on Monday on the latest stop of a tour partly aimed at defusing tensions with Arab powers, State Department officials said. Saudi Arabia, Washington's main Arab ally, is angry with Washington over what it sees as a weak foreign policy it believes has allowed Israeli settlement construction to continue in the Palestinian territories and a civil war to go on in Syria. (Reporting by Lesley Wroughton, Editing by William Maclean/Mark Heinrich)
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Yahoo News article
Lawrence Solomon: A shrinking United Nations
Financial Post - over 3 years
Moves by Stephen Harper and King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia have diminished the stature of the UN – and deservedly so Three years ago, in the run up to a United Nations vote that would decide if Canada got a widely coveted seat on the UN’s Security Council, Canada announced new trade talks with Israel, a move certain to offend many Muslim and Arab states. Their votes instead went to Portugal, costing Canada the seat but no tears. The right to hobnob at the UN takes a back seat to trade, Prime Minister Harper was in effect saying, a point highlighted by his repeated refusal to attend the annual opening of the UN General Assembly — this even when he is in New York at the time of the opening, as occurred last month when he chose instead the company of, among others, members of the Canadian American Business Council. Last week, Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah took disdain for the United Nations one step further. To the bewilderment of diplomatic elites, after his kingdom was unanimously el ...
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Financial Post article
President Obama meets with King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia at the White House in Washington.
Chicago Times - over 3 years
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Chicago Times article
President Observes 9/11 Islamic Terror Group Attacks After Pleading Case for Attacking Sovereign Islamic Nation
The Bennington Vale Evening Tran - over 3 years
Photo courtesy AP SAN NARCISO, Calif. (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- President Obama honored the 12th anniversary of 9/11 this Wednesday during a solemn memorial service in which he remembered the 3,000 victims who perished during al Qaeda's September 2001 terror plots in New York and D.C., but then forgot them moments later by indirectly urging public support for a U.S. strike against Syria to "defend our nation" against enduring threats, though different than the ones faced by the nation in 2001. Analysts warn that U.S. involvement in Syria could reignite anti-American sentiment among militant Islamic terror groups. In a week that recalls ideological aggression by extreme Islamists on American soil, President Obama on Tuesday, despite opposing public opinion, made the administration's case for bringing the United States to the verge of military action in the Middle East once again. The ostensible rationale is to punish the regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria for deploying ch ...
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The Bennington Vale Evening Tran article
Clinton, Obama Got Serious Bling From Foreign Leaders
Huffington Post - over 3 years
WASHINGTON -- Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton outpaced President Barack Obama last year in receiving lavish gifts from foreign leaders. Clinton received gold jewelry worth half a million dollars from King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. The State Department said the gift included a necklace bracelet, ring and earrings. The white gold was adorned with teardrop rubies and diamonds. Obama's most expensive gift was a $16,500 gold-plated clock from Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, the Saudi defense minister. Obama, a big sports fan, scored a red, white and blue basketball from – and autographed by – Chinese President President Xi Jinping. British Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife, Samantha, gave Obama a customized Dunlop table tennis table with United States and United Kingdom decals and paddles worth $1,100. The gifts were among a bounty of vases, watches, artwork and other items given to the Obama family and top U.S. officials in 20 ...
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Huffington Post article
Saudi king helps obese man
CNN - over 3 years
King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia ordered an obese man transferred to Riyadh to receive help for his health.
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CNN article
Help on way for 1,345-pound man
CNN - over 3 years
King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has intervened to help a man who has become one of the heaviest people in the world.
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CNN article
Ann Bolinger-McQuade: PHOTOS: 7 Famous People Who Had Personal Oracles
Huffington Post - over 3 years
Have you ever been driving in traffic and sensed that the driver in the next lane was going to change lanes just before they pulled out in front of you? Chances are you slowed down to allow them in and avoided an accident. Or maybe you've been down to the wire on a project deadline when a person with the precise information you needed called unexpectedly and saved the day. If you're a cloud gazer like me you may notice cloud images that mirror timely messages back to you. Some people awaken from dreams with messages from deceased loved ones. Others notice the familiar smell of a deceased loved one or sense their presence, indicating that they are close by. Like me, you may have even followed a gut feeling that saved your life. If you ever feel like the universe is conspiring in your favor, that's because it is! Every day coincidences, synchronicities, dreams, spirit signposts and mysterious messages show up in every form imaginable. They seem to appear out of the blue and a ...
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Huffington Post article
Obama talks Syria, Egypt with Saudi king
Yahoo News - over 3 years
WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House says President Barack Obama has discussed the crises in Egypt and Syria with King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, a Mideast powerhouse.
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Yahoo News article
Robert Brustein: Arab Spring Forward, Arab Fall Back
Huffington Post - over 3 years
The chaos we are witnessing these days in the Middle East reflects not only a failure of American policy but also a pitiful lack of American self-knowledge. For some reason, hardly because of the current dynamic of government in Washington, we have been trying to convince the Arab world that every Middle Eastern nation would be better off imitating our native brand of constitutional democracy. One might hope for a little more modesty about our own political achievements, considering that the U.S. has become as paralyzed and disordered as any democracy in Europe or South America. But instead of trying to perfect, or least improve our own system, we prefer to urge our dysfunction on the rest of the world. This pridefulness partly explains our indecision over the recent protests in Egypt. The United States has played a greater or lesser part in most of the convulsions of the Arab Spring, that herculean effort by the people of Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Yemen, Morocco, the Sudan ...
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Huffington Post article
Repression in the Gulf: A mirage of rights
The Economist - about 4 years
Bahrain’s protesters still won’t give up AS EVERY monarch in the Gulf knows, even geysers of oil cannot keep all your subjects happy all of the time. Still, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia may have been surprised that his recent appointment of 30 women to the kingdom’s 150-person shura council should provoke a public protest. The all-appointed body, a sort of proto-parliament, has limited influence; the move, announced on January 11th, was the long-expected response to demands for reform by a king who has gingerly promoted women’s rights since assuming the throne in 2005. Even so, dozens of conservative clerics picketed the royal court in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, on January 15th, to condemn what one cowled sheikh decried as “dangerous changes” in the arch-conservative kingdom.It was perhaps natural that fundamentalist Wahhabists, who have long been given leeway to impose their will in return for counselling obedience to the royal family, should be angered by a small step to ...
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The Economist article
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Abdullah of Saudi Arabia
  • 2015
    Age 90
    In October 2015, King Abdullah's son Prince Majed bin Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud was arrested in Los Angeles for using cocaine, being drunk, threatening female employees, and having gay sex with a male employee.
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    He also continued to be the President of the High Council for Petroleum and Minerals, President of the King Abdulaziz Center For National Dialogue, Chairman of the Council of Civil Service, and head of the Military Service Council until his death in 2015.
    More Details Hide Details King Abdullah followed his father's (King Abdulaziz's) path in terms of marriage in that he married the daughters of the al Shalan of Anizah, al Fayz of Bani Sakhr, and al Jarbah of the Iraqi branch of the Shammar tribe. King Abdullah had about 30 wives, and fathered about 35 children. One of his wives is the sister of Rifaat al-Assad's wife. He also married Jawahir bint Ali Hussein from Al Jiluwi clan, with whom he had a daughter, Princess Anoud and a son, Prince Saud. Aida Fustuq was another wife of Abdullah, they had two children, Adila and Abdulaziz. They divorced later. Munira bint Abdullah Al Al Shaykh was the wife of King Abdullah and gave birth to his eldest living son, Prince Khaled. Tathi bint Mishan al Faisal Al Jarba gave birth to Prince Mishaal.
    On 2 January 2015, Abdullah was hospitalized in Riyadh for pneumonia and died on 23 January at the age of 90.
    More Details Hide Details Per Islamic tradition, his funeral was held the same day, a public ceremony at the Grand Mosque of Riyadh before burial in an unmarked grave at the Al Oud cemetery. Three days of national mourning were declared, in which flags would fly at half mast. Flags were also flown half-mast at Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey in London.
  • 2014
    Age 89
    In September 2014 following the spread of ISIL, he issued a statement, "From the cradle of revelation and the birthplace of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), I call on leaders and scholars of the Islamic nation to carry out their duty towards God Almighty, and to stand in the face of those trying to hijack Islam and present it to the world as a religion of extremism, hatred, and terrorism, and to speak the word of truth, and not fear anybody.
    More Details Hide Details Our nation today is passing through a critical, historic stage, and history will be witness against those who have been the tool exploited by the enemies to disperse and tear the nation and tarnish the pure image of Islam". In 2006, Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei had sent his adviser Ali Akbar Velayati with a letter asking for King Abdullah's agreement to establish a formal back channel for communication between the two leaders. Abdullah said he had agreed, and the channel was established with Velayati and Saud Al Faisal as the points of contact. In the years since, the King noted, the channel had never been used.
    A report in April 2014 stated the King had around six months left to live, citing his diagnosis of terminal lung cancer.
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  • 2013
    Age 88
    In November 2013, a BBC report claimed that Saudi Arabia could obtain nuclear weapons at will from Pakistan due to a longstanding relationship.
    More Details Hide Details The King outlived two of his crown princes. Conservative Interior Minister Nayef bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud was named heir to the throne on the death of Sultan bin Abdulaziz in October 2011, but Nayef himself died in June 2012. Abdullah then named the 76-year-old defense minister, Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, as crown prince. According to various reports, Abdullah married about 30 times, and had more than 35 children. The king had a personal fortune estimated at US$18 billion, making him the third wealthiest head of state in the world.
    On 11 January 2013, King Abdullah appointed thirty women to the Consultative Assembly or Shura Council and modified the related law to mandate that no less than 20 percent of 150 members would be women.
    More Details Hide Details In August 2013, the Saudi cabinet approved a law making domestic violence a criminal offence for the first time. The law calls for a punishment of up to a year in prison and a fine of up to 50,000 riyals (€11.500/US$13,000). The maximum punishments can be doubled for repeat offenders. The law criminalizes psychological and sexual abuse, as well as physical abuse. It also includes a provision obliging employees to report instances of abuse in the workplace to their employer. The move followed a Twitter campaign. The new laws were welcomed by Saudi women's rights activists, although some expressed concerns that the law could not be implemented successfully without new training for the judiciary, and that the tradition of male guardianship would remain an obstacle to prosecutions.
  • 2012
    Age 87
    Nearly two months later, in November 2012, King Abdullah underwent another back surgery in Riyadh and left hospital on 13 December 2012.
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    Al-Quds reported that he had an operation at Mount Sinai Hospital, New York on or before 4 September 2012, following a heart attack.
    More Details Hide Details However, there was no official report on this alleged operation. Instead, it was officially announced that the King went on a private trip to Morocco, where he is known to go frequently. The King returned to Saudi Arabia from Morocco on 24 September.
    King Abdullah left Saudi Arabia on "special leave" on 27 August 2012.
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    His third heir apparent was his half-brother Salman, who was named as Crown Prince on 18 June 2012, and would succeed him in 2015.
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    The title of Crown Prince then passed to Prince Sultan's full-brother, Nayef, until his death in Geneva, Switzerland, on 16 June 2012, while undergoing medical tests for an undisclosed ailment.
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    In April 2012, he was awarded by the United Nations a gold medal for his contributions to intercultural understanding and peace initiatives.
    More Details Hide Details In 2011, the financial magazine Forbes estimated his and his immediate family's documentable wealth at US$, making him one of the world's richest monarchs. Abdullah was an expert equestrian in his youth. His stables were considered the largest in the Kingdom, with over 1,000 horses spread throughout five divisions led by his son Prince Mutaib bin Abdullah. The King owned Janadria Farm, a large complex located in the suburbs of Riyadh. For holidays the King maintained a large palace complex with several residential compounds in Casablanca, Morocco. It is equipped with two heliports and is surrounded by large mansions on 133 acres of vegetation.
    King Abdullah was, in 2012, named as the most influential Muslim among 500 Muslims for the previous 4 years.
    More Details Hide Details In December 2012, Forbes named him as the seventh most powerful figure in its list of the "World's Most Powerful People" for 2012, being the sole Arab in the top ten. King Abdullah received a number of international high orders. Most notably, he was an honoured knight of the strictly Roman Catholic Order of the Golden Fleece (the Spanish branch), which caused some controversy.
    In January 2012, King Abdullah dismissed the head of Saudi Arabia's powerful religious police, replacing him with a more moderate cleric, state news agency SPA reported, without giving reasons.
    More Details Hide Details Abdullatif Abdel Aziz al-Sheikh was named, in place of Sheikh Abdulaziz al-Humain, to head the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice. King Abdullah had appointed Humain in 2009 to head the "mutaween," which ensures the strict application of the country's ultra-conservative version of Islam, as a step towards reforming it. Humain hired consultants to restructure the organisation, met local human rights groups and consulted professional image-builders in a broad public relations campaign. Under his leadership the commission also investigated and punished some "out-of-control" officers for misbehaviour. In July 2012, Saudi Arabia announced that it would allow its women athletes to compete in the Olympics for the first time and that the country's Olympic Committee would "oversee participation of women athletes who can qualify". The decision ended speculation that the entire Saudi team might have been disqualified on grounds of gender discrimination. The public participation of women in sport was still fiercely opposed by many Saudi religious conservatives. There had been almost no public tradition of women participating in sport in the country. Saudi officials said that, if successful in qualifying, female competitors would be dressed "to preserve their dignity".
  • 2011
    Age 86
    Despite such concerns, Prince Nayef was appointed Crown Prince on 27 October 2011 after consultation with the Allegiance Council by Abdullah.
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    Sahab bint Abdullah married Khalid bin Hamad Al Khalifa, son of Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, on 6 June 2011.
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    He returned to the Kingdom on 23 February 2011.
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    On 22 January 2011, he left the United States and went to Morocco.
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  • 2010
    Age 85
    He left the hospital on 22 December 2010 and convalesced at The Plaza in New York City.
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    In November 2010, his back problems came to light in the media.
    More Details Hide Details He had an "accumulation of blood" around the spinal cord. He suffered from a herniated disc and was told to rest by doctors. To maintain the Kingdom's stability, Crown Prince Sultan returned from Morocco during the King's absence. The King was admitted to New York-Presbyterian Hospital after a blood clot complicated a slipped disc and underwent successful back surgery. The lead surgeon was Muhammad Zaka, who probably removed the herniated disk and performed a lumbar fusion. He subsequently had another successful surgery in which surgeons "stabilized a number of vertebras".
    The first two of the surgeries were in New York, one in 2010 for a slipped disk and a blood clot pressing on nerves in his back and a second to stabilize vertebrae in 2011.
    More Details Hide Details The third one was in Riyadh in 2011. And the last one was also in Riyadh on 17 November 2012.
    From 2010 to 2012 King Abdullah had four back surgeries.
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    The King had curtailed his activities from June 2010 with no clear explanation.
    More Details Hide Details Diplomats said there had been uncertainty about the extent of his health problems since Abdullah canceled a visit to France. In a television appearance in which he was seen to use a cane, King Abdullah said he was in good health but had something "bothering" him. In a visit by US diplomats to Saudi Arabia in April 2014 the Saudi King was seen connected to breathing tubes during talks, indicating increasing health problems.
    She is the mother of Prince Saud bin Abdulaziz bin Nasser Al Saud who was accused of murdering his servant Bandar Abdulaziz in London in 2010.
    More Details Hide Details King Abdullah was the half brother of both his predecessors, King Fahd, and successor, King Salman.
    Public health engagement included breast cancer awareness and CDC cooperation to set up an advanced epidemic screening network that protected 2010's 3 million Hajj pilgrims.
    More Details Hide Details King Abdullah implemented many reform measures. He re-shuffled the Ministry of Education's leadership in February 2009 by bringing in his pro-reform son-in-law, Faisal bin Abdullah, as the new minister. He also appointed Nora Al Fayez, a U.S.-educated former teacher, as deputy education minister in charge of a new department for female students. He brought about a top-to-bottom restructuring of the country's courts to introduce, among other things, review of judicial decisions and more professional training for Shari'a judges. He developed a new investment promotion agency to overhaul the once-convoluted process of starting a business in Saudi Arabia. He created a regulatory body for capital markets. He promoted the construction of the King Abdullah University for Science and Technology (the country's new flagship and controversially co-ed institution for advanced scientific research). He invested in educating the workforce for future jobs. The Saudi government also encouraged the development of non-hydrocarbon sectors in which the Kingdom had a comparative advantage, including mining, solar energy, and religious tourism. The Kingdom's 2010 budget reflected these priorities—about 25 percent was devoted to education alone—and amounts to a significant economic stimulus package.
  • 2009
    Age 84
    He was Chairman of the Saudi Supreme Economic Council until 2009.
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    In November 2009, King Abdullah was received by Nicolas Sarkozy, who committed various diplomatic faux pas.
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    In addition, Assad attended the opening of King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in October 2009.
    More Details Hide Details Relations between Syria and Saudi Arabia deteriorated as a result of the Syrian Civil War. In August 2011, King Abdullah recalled the Saudi Ambassador from Damascus due to the political unrest in Syria and closed its embassy in Syria. In December 2011, King Abdullah called on leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council to strengthen their alliance into a united "single entity" as they confront threats to national security. "I ask you today to move from a stage of cooperation to a stage of union in a single entity", King Abdullah said at the opening session of a GCC meeting in Riyadh in comments aired on Saudi state television. “No doubt, you all know we are targeted in our security and stability.” On 16 February 2003, Parade magazine's David Wallechinsky rated King Fahd and Crown Prince Abdullah as the second worst dictators in the world. Most of this criticism stems from the fact that most of Saudi citizens live under a strict Wahhabist interpretation of Sharia law, which mandates the amputation of hands as a punishment for theft and floggings for crimes like drunkenness. Execution by public beheading is common for murder, rape, drug trafficking and witchcraft, and Abdullah's policies towards the rights of women have also been criticized. In a slight rebuff to accusations of human rights violations, Saudi inmates of Najran Province sent the King well-wishes from jail and wished him a speedy recovery.
    In June 2009, King Abdullah hosted President Obama in Saudi Arabia.
    More Details Hide Details In turn, Obama hosted King Abdullah at the White House in the same month. He showed great support for Obama's presidency. "Thank God for bringing Obama to the presidency", he said, adding that Obama's election created "great hope" in the Muslim world. He stated, "We (the U.S. and Saudi Arabia) spilled blood together" in Kuwait and Iraq and Saudi Arabia valued this tremendously and friendship can be a difficult issue that requires work but the United States and Saudi Arabia have done it for 70 years over three generations. "Our disagreements don't cut to the bone", he stated. He was the leading gift-giver to the U.S. president and his office in his first two years in office, his gifts totaling more than $300,000. A ruby and diamond jewelry set, given by the king and accepted by Michelle Obama on behalf of the United States, was worth $132,000. However, according to federal law, gifts of such nature and value are accepted "on behalf of the United States" and are considered property of the U.S. government.
    The King made the private suggestion during a meeting in Riyadh in March 2009 with John O. Brennan, the White House counterterrorism adviser.
    More Details Hide Details Brennan replied that "horses don't have good lawyers" and that such a proposal would "face legal hurdles" in the United States.
  • 2008
    Age 83
    In November 2008, he and his government arranged discussion at the United Nations General Assembly to “promote dialogue among civilizations, cultures and peoples, as well as activities related to a culture of peace” and calling for “concrete action at the global, regional and subregional levels.” It brought together Muslim and non-Muslim nations to eradicate preconceptions as to Islam and terrorism, with world leaders — including former U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair, Israeli President Shimon Peres, U.S. President George W. Bush and King Abdullah II of Jordan — attending.
    More Details Hide Details In 2011, an agreement for the establishment of the King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue in Vienna was signed between the governments of Austria, Spain, and Saudi Arabia. The official opening of the centre was in November 2012, with foreign Minister Saud Al Faisal as its first general secretary and Austria's former federal justice minister Claudia Bandion-Ortner as the first deputy general secretary. King Abdullah called for the establishment of an Arab common market in January 2011. Saudi foreign minister, Saud bin Faisal, stated the Arab Customs Union would be ready by 2015 and by 2017 the common market would also be in place. There have been intensive efforts to link Arab countries with a railway system and an electricity power grid. Work on the power grid project has started in some Arab countries.
    In June 2008, he held a conference in Mecca to urge Muslim leaders to speak with one voice with Jewish and Christian leaders.
    More Details Hide Details He discussed with and took approval from Saudi and non-Saudi Islamic scholars to hold the interfaith dialogue. In the same month, Saudi Arabia and Spain agreed to hold the interfaith dialogue in Spain. The historic conference finally took place in Madrid in July 2008 where religious leaders of different faiths participated, and later led to the 2010 proclamation of World Interfaith Harmony Week. He had never previously made overtures for dialogue with eastern religious leaders, such as Hindus and Buddhists. The Mecca conference discussed a paper on dialogue with monotheists — highlighting the monotheistic religions of southeast Asia, including Sikhism — in the third axis of the fourth meeting, titled "With Whom We Talk," presented by Sheikh Badrul Hasan Al Qasimi. The session was chaired by Ezz Eddin Ibrahim, cultural adviser to the president of the United Arab Emirates. The session also discussed a paper presented on coordination among Islamic institutions on Dialogue by Abdullah bin Omar Nassif, Secretary General of the World Islamic Council for Preaching and Relief and a paper on dialogue with divine messages, presented by Professor Mohammad Sammak – Secretary General of the Islamic Spiritual Summit in Lebanon.
    In April 2008, according to a U.S. cable released by Wikileaks, King Abdullah had told the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Ryan Crocker, and General David Petraeus to "cut off the head of the snake".
    More Details Hide Details Saudi Arabia's ambassador to Washington, Adel al-Jubeir, "recalled the King's frequent exhortations to the US to attack Iran" and to put an end to Iran's nuclear program. King Abdullah asserted that Iran is trying to set up Hezbollah-like organizations in African countries, observing that the Iranians don't think they are doing anything wrong and don't recognize their mistakes. He said the Iranians "launch missiles with the hope of putting fear in people and the world". The King described his conversation with Iranian foreign minister Mottaki as "a heated exchange, frankly discussing Iran's interference in Arab affairs". When challenged by the King on Iranian meddling in Hamas affairs, Mottaki apparently protested that "these are Muslims". "No, Arabs", countered the King. "You as Persians have no business meddling in Arab matters". King Abdullah said he would favor Rafsanjani in an Iranian election.
    In March 2008, he called for a “brotherly and sincere dialogue between believers from all religions”.
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  • 2007
    Age 82
    In November 2007, King Abdullah visited Pope Benedict XVI in the Apostolic Palace.
    More Details Hide Details He was the first Saudi monarch to visit the Pope.
  • 2006
    Age 81
    In 2006, Abdullah set up the Allegiance Council, a body that is composed of the sons and grandsons of Saudi Arabia's founder, King Abdulaziz, to vote by a secret ballot to choose future kings and crown princes.
    More Details Hide Details The council's mandate was not to have started until after the reigns of both King Abdullah and late Prince Sultan were over. It was not clear what was to happen when Prince Sultan died before the end of Abdullah's reign, leaving a question as to whether the council would vote for a new crown prince, or whether Prince Nayef would automatically fill that position.
    Since King Abdullah's visit to Beijing in January 2006, the Saudi-Chinese relationship has focused predominantly on energy and trade.
    More Details Hide Details The king's visit was the first by a Saudi head of state to China since the two countries established diplomatic relations in 1990. Bilateral trade with China has more than tripled, and China would soon be Saudi Arabia's largest importer. Saudi Arabia also committed significant investments in China, including the $8 billion Fujian refinery. Based on a WikiLeaks cable, the King told the Chinese that it was willing to effectively trade a guaranteed oil supply in return for Chinese pressure on Iran not to develop nuclear weapons. In late March 2011, King Abdullah sent Bandar, secretary general of the National Security Council, to China to gain its support regarding Saudi Arabia's attitude towards the Arab Spring. In turn, lucrative arm contracts were secretly offered to China by the Kingdom. Furthermore, King Abdullah believed that China as well as India were the future markets for Saudi energy.
  • 2005
    Age 80
    In 2005, King Abdullah implemented a government scholarship program to send young Saudi men and women to study abroad in different universities around the world for undergraduate and postgraduate studies.
    More Details Hide Details The program offered funds for tuition and living expenses up to four years. It is estimated that more than 70,000 students studied abroad in more than 25 countries. United States, England, and Australia are the top three destinations mostly aimed for by the young Saudi students. There are more than 22,000 Saudi students studying in the United States, exceeding pre-9/11 levels.
    Abdullah succeeded to the throne upon the death of his half-brother King Fahd. He was formally enthroned on 2 August 2005.
    More Details Hide Details King Abdullah's administration attempted reforms in different fields.
  • 2003
    Age 78
    In the summer of 2003, Abdullah threw his considerable weight behind the creation of a national dialogue that brought leading religious figures together, including a highly publicized meeting attended by the kingdom's preeminent Shi'i scholar Hasan al-Saffar, as well as a group of Sunni clerics who had previously expressed their loathing for the Shi'i minority.
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  • 2002
    Age 77
    In April 2002, Crown Prince Abdullah made a state visit to the United States with President George W. Bush and he returned again in April 2005 with Bush. In April 2009, at a summit for world leaders U.S. President Barack Obama met him.
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    In 2002, he developed an Arab Peace Initiative, commonly referred to as the "Abdullah plan", to achieve mutually agreed-on resolution of the Arab–Israeli conflict.
    More Details Hide Details The initiative was adopted at the Arab League's Beirut summit in March 2002. On the second anniversary of the September 11 attacks, Crown Prince Abdullah wrote a letter to U.S. President George W. Bush, which ended with the following words: "God Almighty, in His wisdom, tests the faithful by allowing such calamities to happen. But He, in His mercy, also provides us with the will and determination, generated by faith, to enable us to transform such tragedies into great achievements, and crises that seem debilitating are transformed into opportunities for the advancement of humanity. I only hope that, with your cooperation and leadership, a new world will emerge out of the rubble of the World Trade Center: a world that is blessed by the virtues of freedom, peace, prosperity and harmony." By late 2003, after the Saudi Arabian branch of al-Qaeda carried out a series of bombings that threatened to destabilize the country, Crown Prince Abdullah together with other decision-making elites began to deal with political concerns. One of such moves was his project to promote more tolerance for religious diversity and rein in the forces of politico-religious extremism in the kingdom, leading to the establishment of National Dialogue.
  • 2001
    Age 76
    In August 2001, he ordered then Saudi Ambassador to the US, Bandar bin Sultan, to return to Washington.
    More Details Hide Details This reportedly occurred after Crown Prince Abdullah witnessed a brutality between an Israeli soldier and a Palestinian woman. He later also condemned Israel for attacking families of accused suspects.
    In May 2001, Crown Prince Abdullah did not accept an invitation to visit Washington due to U.S. support for Israel in the Second Intifada.
    More Details Hide Details He also appeared more eager than King Fahd to cut government spending and open Saudi Arabia up economically. He pushed for Saudi membership in the World Trade Organization, surprising some.
  • 1998
    Age 73
    In September 1998, Crown Prince Abdullah made a state visit to the United States to meet in Washington, D.C. with President Bill Clinton.
    More Details Hide Details In September 2000, he attended millennium celebrations at the United Nations in New York City.
  • 1995
    Age 70
    When King Fahd was incapacitated by a major stroke in 1995, Crown Prince Abdullah acted as de facto regent of Saudi Arabia.
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  • 1990
    Age 65
    King Abdullah also had a daughter called Princess Nora who died in 1990 in a car accident.
    More Details Hide Details Princess Fayza is yet another daughter.
  • 1987
    Age 62
    He again traveled to the United States as Crown Prince in October 1987, meeting Vice President George H. W. Bush.
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  • 1982
    Age 57
    On 13 June 1982 when King Khalid died, Fahd bin Abdulaziz became King, Prince Abdullah became Crown Prince the same day.
    More Details Hide Details He also maintained his position as head of the National Guard. During his years as crown prince, Abdullah bin Abdulaziz was described as a supporter of accommodation. He managed to group a large number of fringe and marginalized princes discontented with the prospect of the succession being passed among the Sudairi brothers one after the other. His control of the National Guard also was a key factor in his success in becoming crown prince.
  • 1976
    Age 51
    King Abdullah has long been pro-American and a long time close ally of the United States. In October 1976, as Prince Abdullah was being trained for greater responsibility in Riyadh, he was sent to the United States to meet with President Gerald Ford.
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  • 1975
    Age 50
    King Khalid appointed Prince Abdullah as second deputy prime minister in March 1975, a reflection of being the second in line of succession to the Saudi throne.
    More Details Hide Details In other words, after this appointment, Prince Abdullah became the number three-man in Saudi administration. However, his appointment caused friction in the House of Saud. Then-crown prince Prince Fahd together with his full-brothers known as Sudairi Seven supported the appointment of their own full brother, Prince Sultan. Prince Abdullah was pressured to concede control of SANG in return for his appointment as Second Deputy Prime Minister. In August 1977, this caused a debate between hundreds of princes in Riyadh. Abdullah did not concede authority of SANG because he feared that would weaken his authority.
  • 1963
    Age 38
    In 1963, Abdullah was made commander of Saudi National Guard (SANG).
    More Details Hide Details This post allowed him to secure his position in the House of Saud. SANG, which had been based on the Ikhwan, became a modern army force under his command. Beginning by 1985, SANG also sponsors the Janadiriyah festival that institutionalized the traditional folk dances, camel races, and tribal heritage.
  • 1961
    Age 36
    Abdullah, like Fahd, was one of the many sons of Ibn Saud, the founder of modern Saudi Arabia. Abdullah held important political posts throughout most of his adult life. In 1961 he became mayor of Mecca, his first public office.
    More Details Hide Details The following year, he was appointed commander of the Saudi Arabian National Guard, a post he was still holding when he became king. He also served as deputy defense minister and was named crown prince when Fahd took the throne in 1982. After King Fahd suffered a serious stroke in 1995, Abdullah became the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia until ascending the throne a decade later. During his reign he maintained close relations with United States and Britain and bought billions of dollars worth of defense equipment from both states. He also gave women the right to vote for municipal councils and to compete in the Olympics. Furthermore, Abdullah maintained the status quo during the waves of protest in the kingdom during the Arab Spring.
  • 1924
    Abdullah was born on 1 August 1924 in Riyadh.
    More Details Hide Details However some sources state that this date is incorrect. He was the tenth son of King Abdulaziz. His mother, Fahda bint Asi Al Shuraim, was a member of the Al Rashid dynasty, longtime rivals of the Al Saud dynasty. She was descended from the powerful Shammar tribe and was the daughter of former Shammar tribe chief Asi Shuraim. She died when Abdullah was six. He had younger full-sisters. Madawi Al-Rasheed argues that his maternal roots and his experience of an early speech impediment led to delay in his rise to higher status among the other sons of King Abdulaziz.
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